Ngaio Merrick reports on the ABC Black Women's Masters team
Of all the teams in all the grades, ABC Masters Black has two things going for it that no other Masters Team has.
First – we technically win every single game. We set our rationale for a win during our team warm up talk and every single time we achieve it. Sometimes, it has to be admitted, we re-set it at half time, but we always, always achieve it. And to date we have not technically lost a single game.
Secondly – without a doubt- we have more fun than any other team on the turf. The sheer laughter at balls which run away – accompanied by a “Run faster, Marian!” or “Eat more Weetbix, Lisa!” – defies our opposition who are ordinarily serious and concerned when their players miss a ball.
We have the evil twins in our team – the Saffers - Carey and Rina – who are good friends off the turf and (despite appearances) on the turf too. Rina can often be heard to say from her Centre Half position comments such as “A little less reverse stick, Carey, and we might actually keep the ball” to a guffaw from Carey.
As if the evil twins aren’t enough (they look similar, sounds similar, play similarly and abuse other players with the same regularity), we also have two Lisas. One fair, one dark. The dark Lisa looks as though she should be called Emily and the light Lisa was mis-named Lucy for an entire year by coach Tobin, so now we have Emilisa and Lisalucy to differentiate the two. Both play with guts and come off flushed from running and running.
Our goalie, Stacey, plays best when her partner is playing in the opposite goal. She saved an enormous 22 shots on the game we played against Nic’s team. Usually Stacey only saves a measly 17-20 goals and rarely lets many in. When Angie is in goal we all jump to attention as Angie calls our positions into correction continually, helping us all play better hockey and saving goals like an octopus.
Then we have the “long timers” such as Ri Brazier who has been playing for more than 150 years just by herself. Ri is famous for “deception speed” – she looks as though she would be slow but has a mean streak of speed combined with a fantastic tackling ability which shocks and stuns our opposition (and us) on a regular basis.
Christine, the resident emergency nurse, has her skills called into action on a regular basis. No matter who is injured, from which team, whether their mother is playing or not, we all back away and listen to Chris telling the poor hapless girl “BREATHE” while she ensures all medical protocols are followed. The only time Ngaio is ever injured is when Chris does not play…
[Tobin comment] In the right half channel we have Ngaio Merrick who plays with the enthusiasm and energy of a teenager. She takes her fair share of bumps, bruises and breaks and she plays through the pain barrier without needing concrete pills as she rampages down the right wing.
Vanita is our other defender who has the hardest hits and meanest stick in the game. Vanita’s claim to fame is running back to the circle at high speed when a sole player is about to take on the goalie and flicking the ball neatly out of the sideline to give the whole team (sprinting and exhausted) a chance to reposition to take on the attack. Her other signature move is to send the ball into oblivion from the back to reset the game. She is of huge value and for no other reason so much as her cheerful smile.
We’re blessed to have some players who join us just for Masters including Nat, Gemma, Jay, Fiona and Marian. And despite the antics and hilarity of the Div 2 regular players, these ladies play their socks off and do us proud. They run, they pass, they stay up front and create plays and they also score goals. Those things which change the scoreboard and make technical wins so much easier.
We’re also lucky to have Jen play up from Div 3 (where she was last year but will not be next year) who brings her lovely little man, Noah, to watch games on the iphone while she plays. Such dedication to the team when it’s way past his bedtime!
And lastly, but not least, is our newest player to the game, Candice. Candice sets up a series of reasons she’s not going to play well at the start of each game. There are cramps, muscle tears, sore things and excessive work. Then she plays with all her heart, soul and muscles all game every game defying her own logic. No excuses necessary!
We love our players and their tolerance for our own foibles which are plentiful (speaking personally) and it’s a true pleasure hitting the turf every Wednesday night for what is bound to be another technical win with ABC Masters Black.i